How can we possibly digest the rush of information we receive daily? Often, we wind up in a pattern of numbing ourselves when we feel overloaded, and then seeking out intensity to move out of numbness. We may numb ourselves with busyness, worry, substances, or screens. Then we may seek out experiences that give us a rush of adrenaline, an alarm to wake up our body and our mind—we may pick fights, watch horror movies, or push our bodies to an extreme. When we choose to engage with it, we enter into intensity in ways that may confirm old fears, activate trauma responses, and, ultimately, deliver us back into the numbing part of the cycle. This cycle is exhausting on a root level. Even when we go looking for something to wake us up, we end up with a growing fatigue.
Living with this baseline tiredness, we are more inclined to turn away from our own feelings and stay in the dark about the deep needs of the living systems we contain and belong to. Ignoring the information that lives inside our subjective experience cuts us off from critical resources. We need our sensations online if we are to open not only to beauty and connection, but to the possibility of new ways of being. On behalf of futures we have yet to imagine, how can we move from the patterns we know well to a wilder place of radical awareness?
About this Spell
Wild Awake is a spell for turning towards the aliveness that lives inside each moment—the wild intelligence of our beings. With this spell, we notice what we notice, then we notice that we notice. When we open our awareness to what we can see and feel, we discover the capacity to watch and witness these sensations without immediately reacting. To work with this spell, practice broadening the circle of your thoughts and feelings beyond the usual and familiar. Practice being receptive to sensations and ideas that may not make sense... Let time stretch or shrink. Let your heart swallow something it’s been chewing on. Let the world in, and allow it to be as strange and various as it really is. When we give the vast persistence of our lives a home inside of us, we may actually find ourselves at home inside the rhythms of this wild life.
This is an ancient practice that never gets old. The more we remember our wild awakeness, the more accessible it becomes. But the goal is not to free ourselves from forgetting. So long as we inhabit these bodies, we will move in cycles, patterns, and rhythms. This month's spell honors wholeness, which includes the cycles of dreaming and distraction that come when they must come. Awakening could never exist without states to awaken from.
Meditation on Still Here
For this meditation, please find a place to be still, or land in some meditative movement. Let your eyes remain open, moving about until they find something nice to settle on. With your gaze settling, notice your body settling with it. Let your breath move you in a rhythm you don't control. And then turn towards all that you can see and feel in this place and moment: the colors, surfaces, shapes, textures, and contexts of what is visible to you—the qualities of weight, temperature, mood, and attention inside of you. What happens when you give your attention to your own attention? Notice if your mind is restless, fuzzy, or slow, and then let that data go. When you look at the world, or yourself, can you shed the thoughts of what you see? For as long as you can, try to give less attention to what you’re looking at and more and more attention to where you are looking from. Anytime you notice tension building, relax your jaw and your mind. Move your eyes around and discharge bodily tension with movement, perhaps a big breath or sigh. And then, when you’re ready, return to a soft, open-eyed gaze; return to the practice; take rest at the root of your perception. If you start to work hard in this practice, try to notice the effort and let it go. The source of your awareness is ever-present—it doesn’t take work to find it, only profound relaxation to feel it. And, when you do feel it, you will recognize it just as it recognizes you.
About the painting:
Corina: Few paintings have been as enjoyable to watch come together as this one. I particularly loved drawing all the cottonwood fluffs over the shiny black feathers of the crow, knowing my sister would do something magical with them. And she did.
Jocelyn: This one was a joy and a delight to create with my sister. It was the first image we made together for the 2019 calendar and it set the tone for a series of images that felt lighter, more colorful and playful than previous years’ work. Also, this spell is my everything!
This month's offerings:
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